Thursday, April 17, 2014

Conference Quips

This week was the time for Spring Conferences at the girls' school. It is always so fun to hear snippets about your kids from an 'outside' perspective. The things they do when their parents aren't around, the things that are same or different, and to see if we are picking up on the same things!

From Matilda's:

"she is able to play with many of her friends, with a few "besties" in mind"

She has always been like this...taking a fast and strong liking to certain people. Back even from her infant room days, that feedback has been consistent. In her infant room days, I remember the teachers saying that it isn't typical for kids to have such strong preference/friendship with other kids at the age she was.

"Some of her favorite things include babies, cooking, and science."

Makes sense since we have a baby, cook with her every day. Although the science thing throw me for a loop. Must get that from Nate. :)

"She may approach new things with caution but after she tries it she has no fear"

So so so so so true. Her entire life. Wisconsin Dells Water Park 2014. Enough said.

"Matilda enjoys reading books, and running morning meeting with friends."

I.e. she wants to be the boss of her friends. :) At least that is consistent at home too.

From Bea's:

"We see her enjoyment (of art projects, dress-up and stories) through her smiles, clapping, babbling, dancing, and disappointment when an activity is over."

Also known as she pitches a fit if she doesn't get her way.

"Bea demonstrates her physical skills by moving throughout the room in an exploratory manner."

Reading between the lines "we have to remove items from the room because she is a climbing monkey.

"Has developed positive, secure attachments to certain adults."

said differently....cries when certain teachers aren't there, or certain ones leave. Just like at home with the Mama.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

3rd Annual EGGstravaganza!

Well, dang.
As I sit down to write this blog, I realize that I failed to get a picture of all of the kids together.
It was on the top of my mind before the party, and then 75 people showed up and all I could think to say was thanks for coming and you get 12 eggs.

Here is a just a glimpse of all of our friends who came out to help us celebrate.
Our friends keep having more children, so the crew keeps growing each year.

A few shots of the food we cooked up. Here is the deal---i do love Pinterest. I love being crafty. I love doing something with my hands other than emailing. 


And I happen to be (over) planful, so all of this doesn't take all that much time. I don't do this stuff for anybody but me really. This is a creative outlet, something to do. Produce.

Plus, for me, this party is ALL about the kids. We plan this, and do it, to see all of our friends' kids running around, having fun, and getting spoiled for a day.

And after we are done spoiling them with easter eggs, we spoil with a small gift bag.
(because sometimes I forget everything I have bought and just happen to have enough to make this happen......)

 So...the Hunt.

As it will surprise no-one, Matilda had a very particular style to her hunting--one that will be problematic when she goes to a 'public' hunt and isn't being policed by a 12 egg per kid rule. Because, you see, she carefully, meticulously selected each egg. Even passing up eggs at one point stating: "no, I want a purple one".

What can I say, girl knows what she wants.

Bea on the other hand, was happy to just grab a hold of one egg and shake it until her heart was content.
Confession: i opened her eggs after she went to bed tonight and literally demolished all of her candy.
It was a great moment of motherhood.

This was the best shot of both of the girls we could scrape together.  Matilda really wasn't interested in playing with her baby sister today since all of her buddies were here.

And oh, did she have fun with her buddies.

Even crashing their family photos

Thanks to my Dad for sawing us the frame. It was a big hit, and so fun to have some photos we can start to track from year to year to watch the kids grow.

We don't have family in town, but our friends are like our family, so we love that we can celebrate together and have a big giant party to get everyone together.

Happy (almost) Easter, Everyone!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Birthday Bash!

It was a Sweet Shoppe birthday for Beatrice. As my friend Marie warned, "she is going to inform Matilda that Bea got a cupcake for her 1st birthday and she didn't.." So I figured I may as well go big since I will pay for it later. :)

But just to set the record straight, there were a lot of sweets, and Bea only got one tiny little cupcake (more on that later).

The food was certainly not the main event, as it was so fun to have lots of people on hand to help us celebrate.

Grandma put her signature mark on the birthday party with her amazing cut-out cookies that were on-theme, and impeccable decorated. And as an added bonus--also very delicious.

Here is the thing...and I feel a little bad about this...I think Matilda may just have had more fun than Bea. She was over the moon to have her buddies at her house, and they instantly took to playing together.

And what games do 5 2-year old girls play when they get together?
"Go to sleep"

They play go-to-sleep.
Which is funny, because when you actually WANT them to do that it doesn't always happen that easily....

We also spent a fair amount of time trying to prep Matilda that this was BEA's birthday and not hers. She was super excited about presents, until she realized that there were none 'for her'.

We had a minor melt-down, combined with one of the purest sad faces I have ever seen.
Then I explained that that is one of the great things bout sisters. if you are really nice, Bea will want to share everything because she loves playing with YOU.

(which worked...but admittedly turned into Matilda just telling Bea: "you are sharing with me, Bea!")

The big moment of cupcake eating and candle blowing was also excitedly shared...

 ...although Bea made very quick work of getting that whole cupcake down before it got taken away.


Bea also received a super fun ride-on toy from Katie, and it was THE hit. It's the first time that I have seen Bea get seriously angry when she sees Matilda playing with a toy. She follows her around and cries at the base of the car until Matilda relents (or we force her to give Bea a turn).

And of course, since Bea is a total monkey, she can get off and one, and move backwards all by herself.

Even better, Tillie can push her! :)

We've got the emergency room number programmed and ready to dial.....

It was a great party. So much fun to be surrounded by so many of our friends and family to help us celebrate.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday, Beatrice!

Oh to have words that go beyond the cliche: "time flies when you are having fun."

But they fit the bill when I think back on the last 365 days. I wasn't expected to be so surprised by my insane amount of joy watching this little one go through each stage. Learning new things. Doing new 'tricks.' After all, I had been through this before. This was the second time around. We knew what to expect.

Except, watching Bea grow into her own person--next to Matilda--added to the joy. Watching her do her own thing, watching them together, and seeing the promise for the future of our family. 
It all just went so fast. 
Too fast.

It feels like just yesterday, Bea and I were hanging out on maternity leave.
But at the same time--the nights of being up 3 times to feed her feel like ages ago.

So try to capture this incredible little human in words.
Bea at 1 means....

Always on the move.

Oh, there are drive-by snuggles.
But unless she wants up, she mostly just wants to be on the move.

She loves her big sister.
Especially if said big sister has a baggie of Cheerios or Kix in hand.
At which point, she will relentlessly chase her around (via her stankylegg crawl move) until Matilda shares what is in her bag with her.

She just graduated to the big girl bath.
And she LOVES the big girl bath.
Back into the corner as far as she can.

But let's be honest. The corner thing is not just a bathtime affair.
Bea has a little bit of 'creeper' in her. Preferring to seek out tight spots, places she is hidden and confined. Put her down in the middle of a giant room, and she will beeline for a corner of some sort every time.

Bea is a climber. Like none other. Certainly unlike her sister who wasn't even really crawling at this age.
In fact, they had to remove the little book shelf from the infant room at school because they said Bea will systematically remove each book to make it easier to crawl UP the bookshelf, and then do just that.

And when she isn't climbing, she is giving me big snuggles. Nate is jealous that she is still so mom-focused (but he knows the Daddy phase will hit her too).
Each morning when I get her out of her crib she gives me a GIANT snuggle. Puts her arms around my neck, her head in my shoulder and just snuggles in.

Everyone should get to start their day like that. 

Bea is an independent explorer.
Happy to bop from toy to toy (or more like from food scrap to food scrap) on the floor. And is not easily persuaded to give up whatever is in her hand. 
If you take something from Bea that she is really into, she will let you know about it.
With pursed lips.
Leaning forward to put her head on the ground.
And then a big frustrated wail.

And although it seems as though it has been winter for her entire life, we have been able to get outside and enjoy the weather. And I just know that once we can release the girls out into the green grass, this one is going to be difficult to contain.

I can't wait to see what the next year has in store for you, Bea. To hear your first words.
To watch you explore the world around in your way. You have opened our hearts in new ways we didn't think possible, and our family would not be the same without you.

We love you, Beatrice. Happy 1st Birthday!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What's In A Name?

On the eve of what I truly cannot believe is Beatrice's first birthday, I realized that I never gave her naming justice. In fact, in the last few weeks I have gotten asked a handful of time how Beatrice got her name.

So the story behind Beatrice Lea.....

No, there are no Bea's in our past. It isn't a family name. 

The story actually begins in the middle. Because what is a family name is Bea's middle name: Lea.

My Grandma Sherry and sister both have the middle name "mae" (hence Matilda Mae), and my  Mom and I both share the middle name "lea". I knew early on in the second pregnancy that if this baby was a girl, it would have lea as the middle name.

But, a lot of the first names that we really liked did not go with lea--because made the name end up sounding like a adverb (like Pear-ly).

We went back and forth and round and round. We just could not decide. Then, one night, about 3 weeks before I was due, we were hanging out in the basement (something I don't think we have done since the day Beatrice was born) and Nate looked at me and said: "I think it is Beatrice". And I rolled it around in my mouth and head again. And then my heart said yes. She was a Beatrice.

And oh how our little Baby Bea has fit the bill of her name. Her name means "bringer of joy and love". While I wouldn't have picked a name solely for its meaning, I took that meaning to be a sign of things going differently this time around. I was SO scared of the baby stage again. The colic. The crying. The fussing. The hormones. But from the day Bea came out, she let us know that we were in for a different ride with her.

Not one that was necessarily better or worse, just different. And there were some welcome changes (like nursing going well, sleeping going well, and no colic!). But then there was her incessant desire to move, to sleep on her tummy, and her 'bird-like' eating.  She has taught me to embrace the joy she brings every day, and definitely fills our hearts up with more love than we thought possible.

Baby Bea.
Beezy Leezy. (for when she is about to get in trouble)
Beaslin Weaslin. (for when she is on the move)

I'm not sure if kids 'grow into their name' or 'their name helps them grow into the kid they are', but either way, this kid is a perfect match for hers. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

6th Annual WI Dells Getaway

The term 'getaway' might be a little over-stated this year given that we didn't actually get away from this miserable, terrible, horrible, no good winter....but regardless we still had a great time meeting up with the Keaty Crew and Grandma and Grandpa for a quick weekend of fun.

And there is not greater fun to be had for Matilda than quality time with Finn and Leo. Man, that girls loves them so much. I mean we love them too, but she takes it to a whole new level. Friday night, when we went to the pool she wasn't so sure about going down the slides (due to the buckets of water they pour on you as you walk up the stairs).

That all changed the second Finn arrived....

Bea wasn't so sure about the water. She didn't mind as long as she was being held, and in the nice warm water of the Toddler pool.

Oh, and she had to have one of the balls that were meant for the older kids.

Matilda and Bea didn't get a ton of sister time since Matilda was much more interested in the cousins, and the slides but we did manage one sister pic.

One of my personal favorite things about the WI Dells is the giant sno-cone stand at the Waterdome. Overpriced sugary water. This year, Grandpa treated. 
And ALL of the kids were happy. Grandkid and the real old kids.

Bea didn't get a slushie but she got to dump water all over herself (i.e. drink out of a sippy cup but never swallow any of the water and just spit it back out all over) and snuggle with Grams.

 Meanwhile, Grandpa was getting some of his own Tillie snuggles (and ear rubs). Tillie sat here, or stood next to the opening to this massive water slide that ended right here. Watched for about 30 minutes and decided SHE wanted to go on it.

So up Mom and I climbed 6 flights of stairs. Got to the top and sat in a GIANT intertube--where I learned TIllie couldn't sit in my lap. And then we started down the ride, which quickly turned PITCH BLACK. I couldn't see my hand let alone Matilda.

Mom and I just kept saying: "this is fun!"

Swirls, dips, and sharp turns. And still pitch black. Matilda is silent. Not a peep. My heart i s in my throat.

We hit the exit and the guy catching the tubes saw Matilda and said "way to go" and she gave him a high-five and got out. And that was that. I couldn't believe she did it. And that when she did, it wasn't screaming the entire way down. All I kept thinking was "thank god Aunt Marna wasn't here to witness this, or we may have lost her". :)

Even with all of the fancy and fabulous waterpark action, there is still something about the simple joys of getting to sit next to your buddy on a bus.

Grandma got some quality snuggles and reading time in.(while Dad took cereal orders from each child every 2 minutes--more Kix! More CTC! I need a bowl!)

Ahhh....this crew. I love them all so. I love them separately and I love them together.
And I love watching them grow up through family traditions.